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Ronald Reagan’s Stimulus

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:32 pm - January 17, 2009.
Filed under: Economy,Obama Watch,Ronald Reagan

As the price tag for the Democrats’ stimulus packages continues to climb, even as the federal governmetn faces a record budget deficit, I ask Obama supporters, who have such hope that their man will change things in Washington, if they can provide any evidence of such hefty stimuli actually providing anything more than a short-term boost to the economy.

They hem and they haw, perhaps a few will mention the New Deal, but none can come up with more recent examples.  I mean, if additional federal spending stimulated the economy, we’d be enjoying boom times today.  And FDR’s New Deal would have caused a steep drop in unemployment.  Instead, unemployment remained pretty steady through the 1930s, spiking up in 1937 and remaining high until World War II.

If the president-elect and the Democrats really want to “grow the economy,” they need not look so far back for plans to emulate.  They just need look at Ronald Reagan’s record, but alas Democrats are loath to admit the success of Republican ideas and the failure of their own.

Ronald Reagan’s stimulus was simpler than the Democrats’ proposed boondoggle — and successful.  He didn’t increase federal outlays, but instead held the line on them, while returning money to the people:

The difference between Reagan’s and Obama’s policies is striking. Reagan stressed private investment. With Obama, as with FDR, it’s public investment. Reagan cut spending in the worst days of the recession in 1981. Obama favors radically increased spending. Reagan sought to boost employment in general. Obama has particular jobs in mind.

If the Democrats had it within themselves to admit that the policies of one of their icons fail to foster economic growth and bringing down the employment rate and to acknowledge that those of one of their great adversaries succeeded, they would help bring about a new era of prosperity while realigning American politics in their favor.

A Conservative Screenwriter in Liberal Hollywood

When Charles Winecoff alerted me to his upcoming coming-out piece on BigHollywood, not only did he draw my attention to his post, but he also reminded me about the recently-launched site. I know (and highly respect) a number of people associated with Big Hollywood, notably my pal John Nolte, its editor-and-chief, and wanted to blog on its recent launch.

John and I have been corresponding for over four years now ever since I discovered his wonderful site, the now-defunct, Stranded on Blue Islands. He’s bounced around on the web a lot since then, but let’s hope he’s found a permanent home on BigHollywood, the perfect site for a guy like him.

John, like me, is a conservative film buff with Midwestern roots. He is one of the few people I know who has a DVD collection larger than mine.

Not only is he a good writer, but he’s also a great guy. And he’s been rewarded by his qualities as a human being with a beautiful and intelligent wife. I highly recommend you check out the site he edits.  It offers a conservative perspective on movies and the entertainment industry.

As I scanned the site today, I recalled my own history in Hollywood, how I had become a film buff in the late 1990s when, after watching As Good As It Gets, I realized movies could convey on screen the ideas I had hoped to express in books. And they did it with an immediacy that literature lacked. In a matter of hours, a great flick could move you and so remind you of the things that mattered.  Human relationships.  Respect for difference.  The need to stand up to evil.

Shortly thereafter, I find myself writing scripts, then moved out here to try to sell them.

I had a certain idealism about the entertainment industry when I came out here, an idealism contradicted by my very conduct.

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David Gergen’s Connection to Princess Diana

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:00 pm - January 17, 2009.
Filed under: History,Literature & Ideas

I have taken a break from reading books about the two historical periods which most fascinate me of late, the collapse of the Roman Republic and the rise of our own to read Michael Barone’s Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America’s Founding Fathers.

When Barone introduced one man who figured into the British Upheaval, a certain Robert Spencer, the Earl of Sutherland, one of the most remarkable characters of the period,” I thought I was reading about David Gergen. While temperamentally different from the man who now offers bland commentary on CNN, the ill-tempered Sutherland served James II and William III, two kings with very different governing philosophies at the close of the seventeenth century.

He had even voted to exclude the former from the throne.

Similarly, Gergen served two very different presidents (and a few others to boot) at the close of the twentieth. Barone writes that “Sunderland needed office for the money it would bring, and he had learned from his dismissal in 1681 never to oppose a king.”

Maybe Gergen didn’t need the money, but he seemed to long for the prestige of being associated with a President of the United States. And he does seem to have offered some opposition to the outgoing chief executive, though in terms more muted than many of his CNN colleagues.

It seems certain people delight in being close to power, no matter what the purpose of that power.

Sutherland, by the way, is ancestor of Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

The Passing of A Cultural Lion

For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Home of Longwood Gardens, Valley Forge, the Mushroom Capital of the World (Kennett Square), and for any of us who went to public school in the county — the Brandywine River Museum.

The Museum was THE PLACE for school field trips once a year.  It is such a gem in Southeastern Pennsylvania that I am sure most of its residents, as I did, take it for granted.  We used to groan when we knew the Brandywine River Museum was our “day away from school” destination, instead of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia — or some other “cool” place. 

In reality, the BRM was the place that introduced me to art.  Real art.  Paintings of naked women art.   You know, classy stuff.  Stuff a kid from my background would most likely not appreciate, and perhaps snicker at, at that age.  Timeless pieces of art and beauty created by man.

One of the reasons the BRM was started in 1971 was to honor and hold the collections of the Wyeth family, who made their home in Chester County.   Yesterday, one of the most famous American contemporary artists, Andrew Wyeth, passed away.

Andrew Wyeth was as famous as famous is in Chester County.   His father, N.C. Wyeth, was known around the world as a painter and illustrator.  Andrew learned his craft in his father’s workshop.

As a kid growing up in Chester County, the Wyeth family’s importance in the art world was embedded into our studently consciousness.  And Andrew was mysterious.  It was rumored he came in with the crowd somtimes at the Brandywine River Museum, but no one ever remembers actually seeing him.  He was like our version of the Wizard of Oz.  Really important, all-encompassing, never seen but through his work.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy honored Andrew Wyeth by giving him the President Medal of Freedom — the first time it had ever been given to an artist.   Amazing.

I just wanted to acknowledge this morning the passing of this great American artist and patriot.  And thank him for opening the world of art to a lot of stupid kids who appreciate him a lot more as they got older.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)